I always like to use the early part of each year to set up a base level of strength and fitness for the year. Work is a little quieter, the family are around and I have more time for back to back strength and endurance sessions. Nothing too fast, just some long slow sessions. It is also a great time to have a social ride with friends. Being based in Melbourne my favourite loops are down the Mornington Peninsula – ride to the top of Arthurs seat and then head down the back side through Red Hill and the wine region. The hills out through the Dandenong’s are beautiful at this time of the year – head out before it gets too hot, it is always a bit cooler as you go higher and there is great tree coverage for some shade. It goes without saying that there is plenty of time swimming in the bay and beaches. I did the Australia Day swim at Brighton and a few other open water events. My favourites swimming beaches being my home surf club at Brighton and Mills Beach down in Mornington.
When planning for a race, especially if you have a full IRONMAN like Port Macquarie in mind, the work you do to build your leg strength is vital. Get into the hills for your riding and running. Find a group to train with – it will keep you accountable, push you along and add a social element. Try to use public holiday long weekends put in a super session over multiple days. And remember recovery is the fourth leg of IRONMAN – massage, hydration and nutrition are vital.
When it’s hot, I ensure that I increase the amount of sodium I have in my bottles during a session as sweat rates will be higher and so too will sodium and electrolyte losses. I like to freeze my water bottles before a ride and let them defrost as I go so I always have a cool drink. I take additional electrolyte tablets to drop into water refills along the way. I weigh myself before I head out for a long session (especially in the heat) and then again when I get back. Make sure you measure both times without clothes so you don’t have absorbed fluid in your clothes – especially important on the weigh in post workout. This helps me see how effective my hydration has been during exercise and gives an indication of what I’ll need to drink in the next few hours to replace what I’ve lost, noting that 1kg is around 1L of lost fluid.
I use PREPD Prime before any session last 2 hours or more. I’ll typically drink it the night before a morning session – around 12 hours before exercise. I have a relatively high sweat rate and hydration has been an issue for me in the past. When I started using PREPD I noticed my weight loss post a workout dropped from up to 500gms/hr to being almost negligible. My absorption and retention of fluid measurably improved. I don’t do a long session now without getting PREPD beforehand and having Recover afterwards.